It's snowing outside. Driving is dangerous and traffic moves excruciatingly slowly. Getting from one place to the next takes longer, and takes more care and attention.The radio or CD player grows in importance, and we find ourselves more easily lost in thought, musing about one thing or another, perhaps increasingly impatient and agitated as the flow of vehicles crawls painstakingly slowly along slippery streets and roads.
Many consider these extra minutes as a waste of time or view them as"time to kill."
It is said that Abraham Joshua Heschel, outstanding Jewish thinker of the 20th century, out of sympathy for the frailties of humanity had an usually high threshold for human imperfection.
However, one aspect of human behavior for which he had no patience whatsoever was the inclination of many to declare that they "had time to kill." As one who understood time as the essence of life, Heschel regarded this activity as an act of "spiritual homicide."
Indeed, to use time wisely or usefully when caught up in vehicular traffic is no easy task.
I tend to ruminate about ideas that are abstract in nature-the meaning of life, the nature of God, human suffering , the apparent indifference of nature and the need for a universe that cares and has consequences. I too have my share of needless worry and obsessiveness.
When challenged by time that has no structure of work or scheduled activity, I have begun to consider all those things that are reasons for being grateful. My car, while somewhat used with almost 200,000 miles, is an enormous benefit to my life.(It is also fully paid for.) My family and all their moments of goodness and love; people like me, behind the wheel of their cars, who drive in an orderly and competent manner to allow all of us to arrive at our destinations safely; the white softness of snow dropping from an opaque sky , draping the earth with thick, fluffy blankets of protective beneficence, reminds me of the warmth and carefree fun that envelop children as they frolic under warm covers on a cold wintry day; each snow flake, a jewel in the crown of nature's nobility.
Indeed-how can one kill time when time is the substance of our lives, the gift of being , of living, of loving and laughter.
The next time we encounter the temporary void of time begging to be spent with a sense of blessing, why not consider all the reasons for being grateful-you may discover much delight on the trudging way to your desired destination.
Have a most grateful Shabbat.